Portuguese police announced one of the country’s largest ever seizure of 8 metric tons of cocaine on Thursday, worth a street value of more than €300 million, with the wholesale price being significantly lower. The cocaine was hidden inside banana shipments from Colombia, reflecting a rising trend in cocaine being smuggled to Europe from South America in bananas cargo.
Just last week Czech authorities announced the seizure of 840kg of cocaine, which found by supermarket workers unpacking a banana shipment. The seizure is said to be the Czech Republic’s largest every cocaine bust, worth £68 million on the street but worth £25 million at wholesale level.
Earlier this month three Britons were arrested in Greece following the seizure of 300kg of cocaine hidden in bananas, again shipped from South America.
The first of the aforementioned four cocaine-banana seizures this month occurred in Britain. In the seaside town of Southhampton Britain’s largest cocaine seizure since 2015 saw 3.7 tons of cocaine found in boxes of bananas. The seizure was said to have a street value of £302 million.
The use of bananas and fruit in general, to traffic and hide cocaine is nothing new, for example this story from 2010 of 100kg of cocaine turning up in banana packages at a UK supermarket. However, there is definitely a growing prominence of the smuggling method from South America to the world’s largest cocaine consumer market Europe.